Parks and Recreation Department
To the Citizens, the Board of Selectmen, and the Town Manager:
2018 began as usual with Ice Skating, Basketball, Adult Futsal, extreme cold, and lots of snow! There were many new additions in programming, many changes in current programs, and a few capital improvement projects that have either begun or have been completed this year.
The Recreation Department had over twelve hundred people participate in programs this year alone. That number is not including events, day users, and renters at the Community Center. Since I became Director of the Parks and Recreation Department one of our slogans has been, “Bringing Our Community Alive”. We are truly blessed to live in a part of Maine where there are so many organizations and groups that are bound and determined to do the same thing for our community, and we are encouraged to see others committed to making life more enjoyable for the people in our area.
A few notable changes to current programming this year were to make our swimming lessons more accommodating to families with multiple children, which encouraged more participants than we have had in many years. In our Youth Soccer League we also limited the number of children on each team to allow for more playing time, better coach-to-player interaction and instruction, and ultimately promote better skill development in our young athletes. We continually evaluate each of our programs and implement changes that we feel will increase the quality for our participants.
This year the Recreation Department developed several new summer programs to offer local children: Green Thumbs, a program that allowed children to learn, design and care for a new flower garden in Bjorn Park, Mad Science, which was an extremely popular new program that offered children the opportunity to get messy with hands-on science experiments, Dynamic Knights, which taught children how to play chess, Trout Camp, which was a fly fishing program lead by Bob Dionne where teens were able to learn how to fly fish, and FEARLESS, a new program in partnership with Walmart, which gave a group of young teens the opportunity to go to Northern Maine and experience rock climbing, ropes courses, paddle boarding on the Kennebec River, hiking on the Appalachian Trail, swimming under waterfalls, team building games, and whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River!
The Recreation Department is very proud to announce that our Department and staff were the recipients of two awards this year. First, the Safety and Health Award for Public Employers (SHAPE) from the Maine Department of Labor. This award is given to exemplary public sector employers after a thorough review and inspection of the employer’s safety and health policies and procedures by a “SafetyWorks!” consultant. Receiving this award shows the Recreation Department’s commitment to our employees’ safety and well-being, as well as reducing the Town’s exposure to workers’ compensation claims. Second, Emily O’Donnell received the Service Above Self Award from the Farmington Rotary Club. This award was given to Mrs. O’Donnell in recognition of her tireless effort to improve the beauty of the Town of Farmington through planting and tending the flower gardens. Her work is appreciated by many taxpayers and people visiting our community. I greatly appreciate the work she does!
A few of the capital improvements this year include remodeling multiple rooms in the Community Center, replacing the floor and benches in the Gazebo at Meetinghouse Park, and replacing the batting tunnel at Hippach Field.
I would like to thank all of the employees here at the Recreation Department. Our Department depends on approximately 30 employees and over 50 volunteers, each serving an important role in our success. I would like to thank Jaycee Jenckes, our Assistant Director, who helps guide our department, Charity Sargood, our Custodian, and Emily O’Donnell and David Spraker, our Seasonal Landscaping/Maintenance employees. I would also like to give a special thanks to Susan Jones, who has volunteered and worked for the Recreation Department for five years now introducing children to the world of Dance and FUN! She has helped to include so many children, and that will be a gift that will endure a lifetime for some.
If anyone would like more information about the Recreation Department feel free to stop by or check out our Facebook page www.facebook.com/farmingtonrec.
Matthew L. Foster, CPRP
Director of Parks and Recreation